SRIHARIKOTA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to develop a SAARC Satellite that could provide the benefits of the country’s technological advancements to its neighbours.
“India’s space programme is... driven by a vision of service to humanity. Not by a desire of power. We must share the fruits of our technological advancement... with the developing world, and our neighbours in particular. We already share Disaster Management data with over 30 countries. We provide benefits of telemedicine to Afghanistan and African countries. But we must do more,” Modi said at the Command Centre of Satish Dhawan Space Centre. “Today, I ask our space community to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC Satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood, as a gift from India. A satellite, that provides a full range of applications and services, to all our neighbours,” he said in the form of an appeal, to paraphrase what is sure to become a formal announcement in due time.
Modi also asked ISRO to expand India’s “satellite footprint in terms of frequency and quality”, and strengthen international partnerships in space technology, as well as give India a much larger role as launch provider to international players. “Construct the required new launch infrastructure and extend our launching capabilities to heavier satellites. Development of human resources will be critical for our success. Let us link up with more universities and colleges to develop our future leaders in this area,” he said.
The PM also asked ISRO to reach out to the youth. “Let us use social media to further engage with our youth. Let us invite school and college children to witness launches and visit space centres. Could we also think of developing a state-of-the-art Space Museum?” he asked them. He also stressed the need to alter perception of space technology as being for the elite.